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10 High Power Tips To Pass Your MRCGP AKT Exam

The AKT (Applied Knowledge Test) is sometimes seen as the ‘smaller’ of the two exams in GP training. Many however find it a bigger challenge than the RCA given the need for precise knowledge and correct application. It is certainly not to be taken lightly – good planning and smart use of time is essential to get the most out of preparation. For full details about the exam see our main AKT Blog: What is the AKT and how to prepare.

Having sat this exam myself, I remember areas that I struggled with, as well as ideas that I benefitted from. Below are my ten key, but often less discussed tips for this exam – both for preparation, as well as for the day itself.

– Register for our next Free AKT Webinar here
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10 High Power Tips To Pass Your MRCGP AKT Exam

1) It’s in the name

This is not solely a test of knowledge but one of applied knowledge. It is not enough to simply know your stuff. It tests your application of core knowledge in scenarios and situations that you may be faced with in General Practice, whether clinically, evidence-based or managerially. It requires a certain amount of lateral thinking and placing yourself ‘in the situation’ – this is why sometimes more than one answer may seem appropriate. Change your mindset – it is not all about cramming in all you can.

10 High Power Tips To Pass Your MRCGP AKT Exam

2) Did you know about these 2 key resources?

The RCGP produce two things that many don’t even know about! Firstly, the Curriculum – this is telling you what you need to focus on – use this to form the basis of your preparation – knowing of what is expected of you is half the battle won. Secondly, the College produces feedback reports of previous exams. These reports highlight where trainees struggled and which areas needed improvement – there’s a fair chance that these will be tested again. Use what is there to help you from the producers of the exam themselves!

10 High Power Tips To Pass Your MRCGP AKT Exam

3) Address your weaknesses

We’re very good at focusing on the areas that we like – if you enjoy and understand cardiology well, chances are that you’ll go there first. Practice the opposite. Decide three topics that you hate and focus on them. Perhaps genetics? Maybe urology? Statistics is usually a common one I hear. Getting through this first hurdle and realising that you can overcome this prevents the all-too-often, last minute cramming of these topics. Face your fears full on. Our detailed online courses are broken into specific chapters – allowing you to target certain areas when it suits you…

10 High Power Tips To Pass Your MRCGP AKT Exam

4) Set targets

Don’t revise without direction. Many focus on doing just questions without setting a strategy to ensure they have covered the curriculum. This can lead to distraction and not being able to recognise gaps in your knowledge. Make some targets on a straight road and stick to them. ‘Week one I will have covered X; Week two I will have covered Y’ and so on. Whatever happens, stick to this – even if it means two full days at the end of the week due to drifting away earlier in the week. Targets ensure completion; wandering leaves you stranded halfway. Our free AKT planners can help to set targets for you…

10 High Power Tips To Pass Your MRCGP AKT Exam

5) Don’t follow the ‘crowd’

People usually follow the same course, as did I for a large chunk of time by focussing either on solely question banks or just reading guidelines. Variety is key. Of course use the revision banks – they are a key focus for revision but don’t neglect the other things out there. There are loads of great AKT books available, each giving you a different spin on question types and areas. This helps develop your exam technique. You don’t need to buy them – get them from the library. Granted they may have a few out-of-date questions, but 99% does not change. Variety is key to success – discard monotony.

To read about Dr Irbaz Khan scored over 90% in his AKT exam, read here: How I scored over 90% in my AKT Exam.

10 High Power Tips To Pass Your MRCGP AKT Exam

6) Make time pressure work for you

It is always nice to revise and practice questions in the comfort of your own home, in your own time, with the luxury of regular breaks. The exam however is not so nice. Practice recreating time pressure – give yourself 30 minutes to answer X number of questions, one hour to go through X number of topics, three hours to do a full ‘mock’ etc – the unique pressure of a ticking time-bomb makes you think differently. Being a GP constantly reminds you of the need for speedy decisions and good time management – this is definitely tested in the AKT. Don’t experience time pressure for the first time on exam day itself! Our AKT Mock Exams can help here…

10 High Power Tips To Pass Your MRCGP AKT Exam

7) Small words have a big impact

Common things are common. We often word-match and decide on answers very quickly. You may see the word ‘iron’ in the question and your eyes flick to the answers – you see ‘haemochromatosis’ and your mind is fixed. The small words in these questions can change the answer in a big way – ‘Usually’, ‘commonly’, ‘most often’ are examples of words that may change the answer to something else – don’t miss them in eagerness to tick the right answer. Small words make up big marks – ignore them at your peril.

10 High Power Tips To Pass Your MRCGP AKT Exam

8) Things are always easier in picture

Sometimes reading through 4 or 5 lines of text can be a challenge – by the time you get to the end, you’ve forgotten the first two lines. Imagery can help in a huge way. Visualise the patient in front of you. Add layers to the patient as you read the text: ’30 year old female’….’walks with a limp’….’appears to have a swollen ankle’….’you notice a bruise on her shin’ etc. Slowly building up the image is much easier than quickly reading all in one go. Imagination makes you miss less detail – make use of it.

10 High Power Tips To Pass Your MRCGP AKT Exam

9) Don’t go solo

AKT can be a lonely affair; you get home from work, open your book or website, feel alone, isolated and frustrated. Get together with colleagues at least once a week to go over challenging topics, boost each other’s confidence and make plans for the next week. Realising that you are not the only one in this boat, as well as understanding that others also find it a challenge can really help. Push each other, test each other, teach each other. Even in COVID you can still organise virtual meetings!

10 High Power Tips To Pass Your MRCGP AKT Exam

10) Believe you’re going to pass

So often I hear people say ‘I don’t know enough to pass’ or ‘I’ll never cover all of this’. Whilst wishing to pass won’t automatically make it happen, there is definitely something in favour of self-belief. Confidence is a key part of passing any exam – regularly telling yourself that you won’t pass, that you can’t pass, but somehow hoping that you will, just makes your preparation that much harder. Regular pep-talks, reminding yourself that you actually know a huge amount and convincing yourself that you will easily pass, will push you that bit harder. Telling yourself that it is impossible, that there is too much and that you will never understand X, Y and Z will only work against you. Focus on the positive end-point and you’ll reach it much more easily.

10 High Power Tips To Pass Your MRCGP AKT Exam

How we can help you Pass AKT

For our most comprehensive All-in-One AKT Ultimate Package click here

For all of our AKT Courses and Packages click here

To use our free day-by-day AKT Planners click here: Free AKT Planners

To register for our next Free AKT Booster webinar click here: Next AKT Webinar

To join the Arora AKT Telegram teaching group click here

10 High Power Tips To Pass Your MRCGP AKT Exam

On a final positive note:

AKT preparation does need to be taken seriously. It is not just about blindly doing 10,000 questions – understanding what is being assessed and tackling your revision in an organised way makes the process much more effective and much less onerous.

Most people get through AKT. You will get through AKT. It does however take a little planning and concerted effort. If you start early, you’re efficient in your preparation and don’t rely on one method of preparation, you have every chance of flying through this exam.

Good luck in your preparation and as always I’m here for any help, advice or queries 🙂



Author Bio — Dr Aman Arora

Hello and welcome to Arora Medical Education! I am a Portfolio GP with a 24/7/365 passion for helping you fly through your medical exams and maximise your career. You can find out more about me here.

I’ve been fortunate to teach over 50,000 doctors globally through a combination of face-to-face, online, audio and social teaching, helping them pass exams such as MRCGP AKT and RCAMSRA and PLAB. You can find out more about my previous roles and qualifications here.

Feel free to contact me with any thoughts, questions or ideas to help you reach your potential. I look forward to meeting you soon!


Author Bio — Dr Pooja Arora

Dr Pooja Arora is a GP with a background in Medical Politics, where she passionately focuses on improving the opportunities and working conditions for junior doctors. She is proud to hold FRCGP (Fellow of Royal College of General Practitioners).

You can find out more about Pooja’s previous roles and qualifications here.


Other blogs that may interest you:

The MRCGP AKT Exam: What it is and how to prepare

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How I passed AKT with Dyslexia: Dr Canh Van On

If you are a GP trainee who has dyslexia (or in fact any junior doctor or medical student with dyslexia who is currently preparing for exams), this blog is a must read. We are…

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How I scored over 90% in my AKT Exam: Dr Irbaz Khan

If you are a GP trainee preparing for your MRCGP AKT exam, this blog is a must to help you pass. We are lucky to have Dr Irbaz Khan – a GP trainee who…

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